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Did the GMAT yesterday and only got 520, Help please!

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Did the GMAT yesterday and only got 520, Help please! [#permalink] New post 30 Oct 2013, 06:41
Hello,

So I did the GMAT yesterday and only got 520. This was a very disappointing score for me, because I scored 640 from the gmat prep practice test, and I was expecting a similar result. My goal was 600+ with a minimal score of 550, which is what some of the schools here in my area require. I took a gmat prep test before I started studying and got a score of 560, which further boosted my belief that getting 550 shouldn't be very difficult at all. I had read on this forum that GMAT Prep gives the most accurate idea on how you are going to score on test day so I thought that 600+ should be possible and getting more than 550 should be cakewalk. You can imagine how shocked I was when I saw my result of 520 (31 Q, 30 V).

I got to the test center and I was a little nervous, but when I started the essay I felt completely relaxed, mostly because none of the schools I am applying to care about the essay nor the IR. During the Quant. and Verbal sections I felt a little nervous, but all the exercises felt pretty easy and when I took the break between the quantitative and verbal sections, I was pretty sure that I was on my way to a 600+ score. When I saw the result, I was really surprised and disappointed.

I don't know what went wrong. Clearly, my quantitative skills are still not up to par. I have always been in at least the 37-percentile in that section, but now I was in the 25th percentile... a drop of 13 from the gmatpill test (the hardest pretest I did), and a really sharp drop from the 50th percentile I got when I scored 640 on the gmatprep test. Furthermore, my verbal score has been between 73 and 85 percentile, and now I was in the 57th percentile.... what happened?

I studied for little over three weeks, 6-8 hours effective study time a day not including the first two weekends (on the last weekend I studied two hours both days). Many of my peers from my undergraduate days studied for around three weeks and got scores of 640-670, so I thought that this would be enough for me as well, especially since I had a better GPA than many of these people.

Sources Used:

Gmat for Dummies: Some good tips and good basics, which were useful for me because I'm really not very good at math. However, the tests and practice questions are a lot easier than in the gmat.
GMAT Review 13th edition with the corresponding quant. and verbal books: You know what it is. Pretty good stuff, because it comes from the official source. The beginning quantitative questions were easy for me, but the 700-range questions are impossible :P
GMAT Prep

Study method:

I studied 6-8 hours a day. I focused mostly on the quantitative questions, because after grade school, math has always been the area in which I'm the weakest. During the first week I read "Dummies", and did the exercises and practice tests contained in that book. Then I worked through the first 100 PS and 70 DS questions in the OG quantitative book, also did many of them in the OG stand-alone edition. During the last week, I did a pretest every two days and checked all the problems which I didn't know how to do.

Practice tests done:

Gmatprep 1 and 2. Cleared my results after getting a 640 from the second test, and did the first one again, but a great number of the questions were the same.
GmatPill Practice Test
Gmat for Dummies Practice Tests 1 and 2
One additional test, can't remember the name

Thoughts now and ideas about how I'm going to proceed from here on out

-520 is not a very good score, and like I said, I expected to score a lot better. I am going to look into the GRE, which a friend of mine is doing and try to determine whether it would fit me better. It's also cheaper, so it would be a good choice in that regard.

-Not all MSC programs require the gmat, so I'm going to find out which ones don't require it and send applications to those.

-Retake the gmat / GRE, and try to get at least 550, so I could enroll into one of my domestic institutions

- I am writing this on Oct 30th, and I still have until the beginning of January to study, so time shouldn't be a problem

Problem and Questions for you wiser beings out there

-How should I change my approach to studying for the gmat? How can I improve my score so that I can get over 600? I guess starting an error log would be a good idea. Any input is greatly appreciated.

-Any good resources on the gmat math for those of us who are not good at math?

-I've been thinking about how progress in the quantative section happens, because all the questions you get are new, so you can't just learn a bunch of examples by heart, and on test day, apply one example to question x, and another to question y..... So how do you improve your quantitative score then? what are the best methods?

-In math, my main problem is that transferring word problems into equations doesn't come easy to me. How do you get better at this?

-My verbal score is a mystery for me, because my average score dropped by 20 %. My English skills have always been very good, to the point where I set exam curves when I was taking Senior English in a high school in the US, even though I was an exchange student. I suppose I should look into some strategies on how to successfully tackle all the verbal question types. I learned a bit about the theory, but mostly I have been picking answers based on what sounds right to me and I have usually gotten 73%-85% scores this way...

- What is your take on GMAT/GRE? How similar are they and do you recommend one over the other?

Thanks a lot for your support, all help is greatly appreciated!
GMAT Pill GMAT Discount CodesKaplan GMAT Prep Discount CodesVeritas Prep GMAT Discount Codes
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Re: Did the GMAT yesterday and only got 520, Help please! [#permalink] New post 01 Nov 2013, 10:50
Expert's post
Dear Miika,
I'm happy to respond. :-)

First of all, here's a a couple three-month study plans that may suit you:
http://magoosh.com/gmat/2012/3-month-gm ... beginners/
http://magoosh.com/gmat/2012/3-month-gm ... h-focused/

That "math focused" plan has good resources for folks who find math challenging.

Here's a blog about the best GMAT resources:
http://magoosh.com/gmat/2013/best-gmat- ... rces-2013/

An error-log would be helpful. It's hard to know exactly what would help you most without seeing the specifics of your mistakes. Particularly with math, the devil is in the details. It's hard for an expert to know what particular challenges a math student has until we see their work in specific problems. I would suggest posting every question you get wrong on this forum (make sure it's not posted already), and you even can post "here's what I did, why is this not a good approach?", and get advice from the experts here. Always feel free to solicit my help in a private email.

I also would like to recommend Magoosh. We have a score guarantee:
http://gmat.magoosh.com/score-guarantee
Of course, we guarantee 50 points because almost all our users see an improvement of much more than that. We have 150+ video lessons, covering all the strategy and content you need. Here's a lesson for free:
http://gmat.magoosh.com/lessons/932-str ... ing-splits
Here's a free SC question:
http://gmat.magoosh.com/admin/questions/2795
Here's a free DS question:
http://gmat.magoosh.com/admin/questions/935
For each of those, when you submit your answer, the next page will have a complete video explanation to the question. Each one of our 800+ GMAT practice questions has its own video explanation, for accelerated learning. Also, when you practice Magoosh questions as a Magoosh user, you can keep notes on individual questions, thus building an online error-log for yourself.

Even if you decide not to use Magoosh, I hope you get everything you can out of the resources on that free blog --- there's a great deal there that can help you.

Best of luck to you, my friend. Let me know if you have any further questions.
Mike :-)
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Re: Did the GMAT yesterday and only got 520, Help please! [#permalink] New post 03 Nov 2013, 23:44
Thank you mikemcgarry! Your help is much appreciated.
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Re: Did the GMAT yesterday and only got 520, Help please! [#permalink] New post 04 Nov 2013, 02:25
Hey mikemcgarry,

Do you offer GRE courses also?
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Re: Did the GMAT yesterday and only got 520, Help please! [#permalink] New post 04 Nov 2013, 17:13
Expert's post
Miika wrote:
Hey mikemcgarry,
Do you offer GRE courses also?

Yes, we do, we offer both. Just search by Magoosh GRE or Magoosh GMAT.
Here are a couple blogs you may find helpful:
http://magoosh.com/gmat/2011/top-3-cons ... at-or-gre/
http://magoosh.com/gre/2012/the-gmat-vs-the-gre/
Let me know if you have any further questions.
Mike :-)
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Re: Did the GMAT yesterday and only got 520, Help please!   [#permalink] 04 Nov 2013, 17:13
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